Bookshelf Speakers

Crystal Cable Arabesque Stand-Mounted Monitor Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Crystal Cable Arabesque Speakers On the Bench

Measurements of the Arabesque Minis were made using a Smith and Larson Audio Woofer Tester 2 impedance analyzer and audio data measured with a calibrated Earthworks M30BX microphone with a M-Audio Profire 610 audio interface and Spectra Plus FFT analysis software. Measurements were conducted at the end of the review period to avoid biasing the subjective conclusions.

The impedance of the Arabesque Mini is specified as 8 ohms, but the load is actually a bit easier than that over much of the bandpass. As seen in the Smith Chart representation, the impedance becomes rather large at high frequencies, but the phase angle remains relatively low. This load should present little problem with most amplifiers.

I measured total harmonic distortion at the normal 50 Hz 1 kHz and 10 kHz at a distance of 1m with a 100 dB test tone. The absolute level of the test tone was calibrated at 1 kHz with a Radio Shack SPL meter. At the higher frequencies, the distortion level is very low, fully consistent with the claim of <0.5%. At 50 Hz, the distortion is very high, but this is a result of the output of the speaker rolling off in my room (remember, the speakers are located far from a wall). At 100 Hz, the distortion drops back down to sub 1% numbers. Intermodulation distortion, measured with 7 kHz and 100 Hz tones is vanishingly low for a loudspeaker at about 0.1% These are some of the best distortion numbers I have ever measured from a loudspeaker, similar to the Legend Tikandi with active DEQ-X HDP3 correction. This is remarkable considering the Arabesque Minis achieve this low distortion level completely passively.

Frequency response was measured at a distance of 1m from a single speaker on axis, and at the listening position with both speakers playing. In both cases, the test tone was white noise, using the same amplitude calibration as in the THD measurements. At low frequencies, room effects dominate, but it is clear the speakers begin to roll off at 70 Hz or so in my room placed far from the rear and side walls. You'd get back some bass response if they were placed near the wall, but I am concerned that they would lose their imaging and soundstaging magic in the process. The rest of the response is quite flat, even past 20 kHz in-room.

The measurements for this speaker are spectacularly good, with the exception of the frequency response. This could be rectified by paring the speaker with a very high quality subwoofer (like top of the line models from REL Acoustics, Velodyne etc.)